In May I took my first real vacation since lockdown started in March 2020. I was in beautiful Park City with two dear friends, all of us vaccinated, floating in the hot tub after a hike, when I felt something strange, vaguely familiar and delicious. It took a few seconds to identify that I felt RELAXED: safe, happy, calm, full of the well-being that can only come from being with friends. I had forgotten what real, unadulterated relaxation feels like!
Like so many of us, I made it through lockdown by locking down my capacity to hope. When would I be able to get the vaccine? When would I be able to have friends in my home? When would it be reasonable to make plans for the future? Especially in 2020, I did not let myself even think about these things. Even in 2021, as the vaccine emerged and the case numbers dropped in San Francisco, it was still so important to keep my hope tamped down, to patiently wait. One doesn’t realize how draining it is to lock up hope until you release it.
It was in mid-June that I noticed I was bubbling with exuberance – I had just done some great client work, I’d made plane reservations for a client meeting in Austin and I booked a writing retreat for January 2022. I wasn’t sure what I was feeling, but in a few minutes I realized – it was hope percolating through my body, my spirit, my mind. It felt spectacular.
Is hope essential to creativity? I think so. Even in the solitary act of sitting at a desk before a blank screen or notebook, a writer hopes that someday someone somewhere will care enough to read what she has written, and that the reader will feel nourished in some way after absorbing the words the writer labored to put in the right order.
Hope is an essential energy. It is not a passive state. Hope gets us to move mountains, to survive disasters, to reach out to others again and again. Hope enlivens our minds and our hearts.
I’m so glad to feel hope once again perching in my soul, as Emily Dickinson says. I can’t wait to see creators all over the world, bubbling with hope and joy, use this magnificent, powerful energy to bring new work into the world.